In a refugee camp setting, women are especially prone to physical inactivity, isolation, high stress, and depression. Through our group fitness classes, we set out to provide a safe, fun, accessible, and consistent place for women to release stress, build community, and increase overall wellness.
Sondoos* has felt the benefits of our classes. Here is some of her story:
“I’ve known the fitness team for some time but didn’t attend much. I visited a doctor and he told me that I was far too overweight. I told him I couldn't lose weight, that I had tried many different things without any results - but in all honestly I just ate way too much.
“When I arrived in Iraq I had no work or studies, nothing to give me purpose during the day. I began to just stay at home and sleep. Eventually I began to lose my hair and I was concerned that I had a hormone problem, but my doctor said I was fine. My family encouraged me to exercise but I didn't want to especially because I didn't have anyone to go with me and I hadn't had much success with it in the past.
“After only one week of going to the group fitness classes I felt a lot better and I started waking up at 6:00AM so I could be ready for my day. My mother was amazed. So far I have lost 12.5kg and I have been encouraged to keep going because every week I get on the scale and see progress.
Going to class is so wonderful as well. I used to cry all day and night because I felt purposeless at home. I felt trapped because I thought people would laugh at me and how I looked. Now I can wear anything and I feel so much better. Thank you for your help and hard work, I am so grateful.”
* Name changed